Freighters anchored in Stuart Channel.

So, today the latest Alberta oil patch bully to take to the podium started issuing threats about what he’s going to do to B.C. citizens who want to protect their coast from the unmitigated disasters that will ensue if we allow diluted bitumen to be exported in unsustainable quantities through Vancouver and the Strait of Juan de Fuca via a twinned Kinder Morgan pipeline.

In a CBC report, United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney says if he becomes premier, and B.C. doesn’t back down, he’ll stop permits for the shipment of Alberta oil to B.C. through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and he’ll slap a toll on B.C.’s natural gas shipments through Alberta.

In an effort to outdo Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley in the tough-guy posturing, he gets down and personal in his threats to B.C.’s NDP Premier John Horgan, wrapping himself in the mantle of 80’s Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, who went to war with Pierre Trudeau over the National Energy Program, and is a hero in the estimation of many Alberta fossil fuelists. (While we’re harkening back to that era, we may want to recall it was in 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled 10 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound… imagine a disaster of that magnitude with diluted bitumen.)

Threatened Kenney, “My message to John Horgan is: I may very well be sitting across the table from you in 14 months. And if you’re unable to come to an understanding with your fellow New Democrat Rachel Notley, just wait until you’re sitting across the table from me,”

A base-player, in no uncertain terms, who must have read the Trump handbook on bare knuckle-headed politics, Kenney thinks a threat to cut off distribution of oil through the Trans-Mountain pipeline and a tax on fracked natural gas are threats that will play well in B.C. He’s right! Thousands of British Columbians, who understand the risk both sources of power pose to our environment, will be cheering him on. “Do it! Do it! Do it!” I can hear them chanting.

In case Horgan is thinking of blinking in the face of Kenney’s locker-room bluster, here’s a bit of advice from one B.C. voter: Allow diluted bitumen to be pumped through our mountains and down to our coast in the volumes demanded by Alberta and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and you’ll earn my unending opposition. Acceding to their shortsightedness and mongering will be a betrayal of British Columbian and global citizens of every species.

Provincial politicians are careful to stick to issues within their own jurisdiction; ordinary citizens don’t compartmentalize their concerns quite so neatly. Nor do we normal citizens need to know every arcane detail of political posturing to understand the fundamental truth. So let’s take a look at this standoff from the position of an ordinary citizen, who has children and grandchildren, whose lives are what he really cares about most – and cares holistically.

Kenney, Notley and Trudeau need to understand my resolve, and why I’m not prepared to budge when it comes to Alberta’s tar sands. Most of the oil that’s locked up in the third largest reserve in the world has to stay in the ground. Full stop. Alberta has to transition away from oil as the basis of its future economic growth, and start building a sustainable future. Twinning Kinder Morgan does not fit into that picture; it perpetuates and accelerates the environmental disaster that’s unfolding as we speak.

The sanctity of B.C.’s coastline and the urgency of preventing climate change trump Kenney’s threats. I’m more concerned we not risk the certain disasters posed by both those issues than I am with anything Kenney, Notley or Trudeau can advance as a provincial or national interest. Alberta has to come up with a Climate Leadership Plan that’s better than the ruse they’ve concocted. It’s that simple.


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